Ursula Le Guin’s “Nine Lives” as a Feminist Statement Sample

In the beginning of the twentieth century. feminists motions started to originate. with the strong belief of vindicate adult females in the societal arrengement of that clip. in order to acquire the same chances as work forces. Literature could non get away from this world ; as a consequence. adult females began to compose about their state of affairs. Ursula Le Guin?s “Nine Lives” . published in the 1960?s. was one of the first efforts in scientific discipline fiction literature to adress the status of adult females in the societal arrengement. “Nine Lives” is set in Libra. a bouldery planet which is far off from Earth. in the outer infinite. and in a distant hereafter. Owen Pough and Alvaro Guillen Martin. the two chief characters. are two spacemans in charge of researching the planet seeking for U. While being at that place. a ten-clone crew arrived to assist in the searching.

The writer presents the ringer crew as five males and five females. Le Guin introduced them as being indistinguishable in both physical facets and cognitive accomplishments: “They were all tall. with bronzy tegument. black hair. high-bridged olfactory organs. epicanthic crease. the same face. ” . and “Given the same stimulation. the same job. we?re likely to be coming up with the same reactions and solutions at the same clip. ” . However. in the development of the narrative. the writer clearly supports the female gender. For case: “ Just cancel the male cistron from half of the cells and they revert to the rudimentss. that is. the female. ” ; or “…clones map best bisexually. ”

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In the narrative. the female ringer are presented with features that differ tremendously with those of adult females in the 60?s: Mugwump. with the same chances as work forces. with the same accomplishments. and non being black of themselves as people. Ursula is contrasting the differences between these two types of adult females ; in “Nine Lives” Le Guin suggests what adult females should be and act. For illustration: “They woke and the miss sat up rose-cheeked and sleepy. with au naturel aureate chests. One of her sisters murmured something to her ; she shot a glimpse at Pugh and dissapeared in the sleeping bag. followed by a elephantine giggle. …” . In the same paragraph: “Christ. we?re used to holding a room to ourselves. Hope you don?t head. Captain Pugh. ” . .

By holding both male and female ringer life in the same environment. with no differences between them. she is stating that there should be no differences between work forces and adult females. Therefore. it should be said that the chief struggle presented in the narrative sing gender is that of the place and importance of adult females in the society. particularly in the American society of Latess 1960?s. Le Guin is knocking men?s and society?s behavior towards adult females ; the writer wants them to believe approximately adult females as what they are: people.

Harmonizing to J. Chafetz ( 1999. p. 4 ) a gender theory specifically feminist should “…focus on the unfairnesss. strains. and contradictions inherent in gender arrengements” . and be “…a normative committedness that societies should develop just gender arrengements. ” . When reading “Nine Lives” . we realize that Le Guin follows the two old mentioned premises of a feminist theory: she focuses in the contradictions in gender arrengements. and tries to develop a just gender arrengement. However. she does non province her point straight in the narrative ; alternatively. as we mentioned before. she presents the female characters with characteristics wholly opposed to those of adult females in the 60?s.

Another construct dealt with in “Nine Lives” is that of humaneness. Humaneness can be defined as “the quality of compassion or consideration for others ( people or animate beings ) ” ( Larousse Dictionary. 2004 p. 517 ) . Now. with this construct clearly defined. some differences can be found in the text. sing the behavior of male and female characters. The male characters are portrayed in a deep manner. with feelings. emotions. and sympathy towards the others male characters. E. g. : “ . . . so kneel by Pugh. who was merely sitting up. and wiped at his cut zygomatic bone. “Owen. are you all right. are you traveling to be all right Owen? ” . and “Kaph looked at him and saw the thing he had ne’er seen before: saw him: Owen Pugh. the other. the alien who held his manus out in the dark. ”

However. when mentioning to the female characters. the male characters merely see them as an object of desire. a sexual instrument. merely a organic structure. For illustration: “Martin looked bewilderedly at the long-limbed misss. and they smiled at him. three at one time. ” . Besides [ Martin ] “What if I proposition one of the misss? ” . Throughout the text there are no mentions to the ideas. emotions or feelings of the female characters. wholly opposed to the male characters?s heads ; the storyteller has full entree to their heads. bespeaking their ideas. emotions. and feelings. E. g. : “Pugh was pleased. He had hoped Martin would desire to travel on working with him. but neither of them was used to speaking much about their feelings. and he hesitated to inquire. ”

By holding portrayed the female charactes in a superficial manner. with no entree to their heads from the storyteller. and the “distant” behavior towards them from the male characters. Le Guin makes a clear allusion to the subordination of adult females in the society. Harmonizing to O. Neira ( 1981. p. 84 ) “La mayoria de los papeles asignados culturalmente a La mujer estan concebidos de modo que contrasten con La superioridad del varon. ” ( 1 ) . Mrs. Ursula criticizes this male chauvinist society arrengement. However. as with the old point. Le Guin does non province her point straight. but. alternatively. she recreates in the text the features in which adult females lived in 1960?s American society.

The manner the linguistic communication is used in the narrative is an of import issue. It serves to demo the reader Le Guin?s point of position sing gender arrengements. and the place of adult females in society. The storyteller displays an utopic relationship between work forces and adult females. where there are no differences among them. except for their biological sex. Both males and females act as one unit. with no favoritism from his/her opposite number ; alternatively. they complement each other. For case: “They all got up within one minute except for one brace. a male child and a miss. who lay snugly tangled and still kiping in one bag. ” Further on: “The twins braced for the halt at one minute. each with a little protective gesture to the other. ” . Besides: “Whatever he did. any member of it would ever recieve the support and blessing of his equals. his other egos. Cipher else was needed. ”

The differenciation presented between adult male and adult female in our universe. in footings of gender arrengements. is non applied to the male-female ringer relationship ; on the contrary. the female ringer have the same chances as the male ringer. and there is no presence of a hierarchal organisation. Furthermore. the storyteller highlights the physical beauty of adult females. their daintiness. in order to heighten their importance. E. g. : “ . . . from which another adult male emerged with the same orderly turn and leap. followed by a immature adult female who emerged with the same orderly turn. ornamented by a wiggle. and the leap. ” . Besides: “Their smiling was gentler than that of the male childs. but no less radiantly collected. ” Finally: “The girl?s voice was decidedly a spot higher and softer. ”

All of the ringer are named Jhon Chow. except for their in-between names. which are different. These names are Aleph. Kaph. Yod. Gimel. Samedth. for the male ringer. and Sadhe. Daleth. Zayin. Beth. and Resh. for the female ringer. These names are some of the constitutional letters of the Hebrew alphabet. E. Jerezano ( s. f. ) states that these Hebrew letters have a significance by themselves. For illustration. the missive Aleph means “individualization” . while the missive Kaph means “to accept” or “to adapt” . These letters. Jerezano continues. and their intensions complement each other. in order to organize one unit. Therefore. one can confirm that Le Guin uses intentionally this allusion to the Hebrew alphabet to show the integrity work forces and adult females should hold ; despite the fact that work forces and adult females are differenciated by their sex. this should be the lone difference among them.

When depicting the features of the 1950?s and 1960?s society in footings of the men?s behavior towards women?s feelings and emotions. M. Evans ( 2001. p. 50 ) says that “women?s issues seemed to them [ work forces ] “special” . “sectarian” . while issues that concerned work forces were “human” . “universal” . ” . The subordination of the female gender has been a changeless issue in the western society. impacting adult females in their lives. Therefore. “Nine Lives” reaches a cardinal job for all adult females. without differentiations of race or economical position.

A adult female who reads “Nine Lives” will experience identified with the relationship between the female and the male ringer. whether this designation is with the utopical relationship between them. or the shallow expression they receive from work forces when it comes to their demands. desires. and feelings. It does non count where the reader lives. since. as stated before. this subordination is a relentless matter in our modern society.

Consequently. a Venezuelan reader will be easy related to this state of affairs. because. as G. Rosciano ( 1991. p. 108 ) describes. the Venezuelan society is “un mundo machista donde La mujeres sufren una situacion intolerante. no solamente por pobres sino por mujeres. ” ( 2 ) . The Venezuelan adult females has suffered. every bit good as other adult females from around the World. from the male chauvinist construct of society for centuries. Despite the fact that they are acquiring more chances in our modern society. there is still an implicit in impression which sees and deserving adult female merely for their generative function.

Numerous women’s rightists deductions can be found in “Nine Lives” . Looking back to the yesteryear. the intervention adult females have received from work forces. and society in general. is unjust ; hence. Le Guin attempts to raise consciousness of this state of affairs in the readers. by knocking the generative function society has assigned to adult females. and. besides. by offering a different scenario. one in which adult females are equal with work forces. Consequently. “Nine Lives” should be considered as one of the most of import narratives with women’s rightists deductions.

Caracas. 10 de junio de 2008


( 1 ) : “The bulk of the culturally assigned functions to adult females are conceived in a manner that contrast with the male superiority”

( 2 ) : “A male chauvinist universe where adult females suffer an unbearable state of affairs. non merely for being hapless but for being woman”

Bibliographic Mentions

Chafetz. J. ( 1999 ) . Handbook of the sociology of transmitter. New York City. NY: Plenum Publishers.

Evans. M. ( 2001 ) . Feminism: Critical constructs in literary and cultural surveies. New York City. NY: Routledge.

Jerezano. E. ( s. f. ) . Significado simbolico de las 22 letras hebreas. [ Pagina Web en linea ] . Disponible: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. sekher. com/torasyah4. htm [ Consulta: 2008. Mayo 25 ]

Larousse English Dictionary. ( 2004 ) . Mexico. D. F. : Larousse.

Neira. O. ( 1981 ) . Explorando las sexualidades humanas: Aspectos psicosociales. Mexico. D. F. : Column Trillas.

Rosciano. G. ( 1991 ) . Arquitectura es femenino. Capital of venezuela: Alfadil Ediciones.

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Ursula Le Guin’s “Nine Lives” as a Feminist Statement Sample. (2017, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/ursula-le-guins-nine-lives-as-a-feminist-statement-essay-sample-3979/